Contact: Greg Dart
Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl Committee
EPHRAIM - For the second consecutive year The Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl will pit No.1 Snow College against No. 2 Butler Community College, this time at Sandy City’s Rio Tinto Stadium Dec. 6 in a game which will decide a National Junior College Athletic Association championship.
The game will be the first football game played at the state-of-the-art Rio Tinto Stadium. The stadium, which is the home of Real Salt Lake, opened this fall and seats 20,000 fans. It was a $120 million public-private partnership.
This is the third time Snow and Butler have met – the Badgers defeated the Grizzlies in the 2005 Top of the Mountains Bowl 17-14 and the Grizzlies returned the favor in last year’s contest defeating the Badgers 56-27.
Butler has won five NJCAA football championships – including last year in a split title with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – and is playing in a title game for the seventh time. Snow won the NJCAA title game in 1985.
The Badgers finished their 2008 regular season campaign undefeated with a 65-20 victory over Mesa Community College Saturday. For the season, Snow finished 11-0 with an average margin of victory of 27.9 points. The wins include four over foes currently ranked in the NJCAA top 20, including three top 10 teams and three road victories.
Snow is a combined 33-2 during head coach Steve Coburn’s tenure. The team has not lost a conference game since 2006 and has not lost at home since 2005.
Snow has a top 10 offense and defense. That is all the more amazing considering the Badger’s starting quarterback Jon Eastman missed the first nine games of the season. Back up and true freshman Quinn Mecham led the Badgers in Eastman’s absence, and is ranked No. 11 in the nation in passing. Eastman came back from injury two weeks ago and quickly returned to his top 10 passer form of the 2007 season.
The defense is led by linemen James Aiono and Mike Laloni, the Rival’s Junior College No. 1 and No. 79 recruits respectively. Four Badgers are among the nation’s top 20 in tackles on the season.
Although Butler started the season with a loss, the Grizzlies never looked back. That loss, the only one on the season, came to pre-season No. 2 ranked Blinn with Butler coming in as the preseason No.1. The Grizzlies never dropped below No. 6 on the season, winning the remaining 10 games by a margin of 23.7 points per game.
Butler is a power on both sides of the ball, boasting the No. 3 ranked total defense nationally and the No. 14 offense. Quarterback Press Taylor is in the top 15 nationally in total offense
Butler’s stingy defense allows less than 200 yards a game. The Grizzlies hold opponents to less than 125 yards through the air and only 74 yards on the ground, good enough for the seventh best rushing defense in the country.
Butler’s menacing secondary is led by a couple of Rivals top 100 players: defensive
backs Ruddel Crim (#7) and Laron Scott (#28). They are among six Grizzlies on the
list. Over the past eight years, Butler has been the highest ranked program in the
"The Kansas and Western States Football Leagues are perennially among the top in the NJCAA and Butler and Snow are perennially at the top of those leagues," said Kevin White, executive director of the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl Committee. "Both of these teams deserve to be here based on their performances on the field this season."
Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl Classic
The Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl provides a first class bowl experience for two junior college football teams with preference given to Snow College located in Ephraim, Utah. As long as the Badgers finish above .500 they will host the game. Zions Bank is the title sponsor of the game. Proceeds from the game will go to the Snow College Foundation for general scholarships. This is the second straight year where the bowl features a battle for the national championship. www.topofthemountainsbowl.com
Tickets are available at www.snowbadgers.com or www.riotintostadium.com or by calling 1-888-477-5849. Tickets are $15 for reserved premium seating and $10
for general admission. University, college and high school students may purchase tickets
for $8 with a student ID. Tickets will also be available on game day approximately
one-and-a-half hours before kickoff.